Preliminary study to determine the provenance of barramundi (Lates calcarifer) based on its trace element composition

Joel D Costa

    Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

    96 Downloads (Pure)


    Barramundi has a national and international reputation as a high quality commercial and sporting fish species with premium eating qualities and a price to match. Australian barramundi is a succulent eating fish with high nutrient and low fat characteristics making it doubly commercial in a weight conscious society. However, it is these characteristics that have made it a target for food fraud and substitution by cheaper and often inferior overseas equivalents. Consequently, there is an immediate imperative to safeguard Australian product and develop a robust scientific procedure to ensure that Australian product can be unambiguously provenanced and differentiated from all overseas “equivalents”.
    Trace element analysis, using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), have been extensively used to successfully determine the geographical origin of wide range of plant and animal based food products. However, there has been no detailed research into the development of equivalent methodologies to determine the provenance of fish and seafood products with the only detailed technology being associated with actual substitution of fish species using DNA bar-coding.
    Statistical interpretation of the concentrations of 63 elements, determined using solution based ICP-MS and ICP-AES, was used to establish the provenance of 223 barramundi samples from 10 locations from Australia and internationally. The overall results of the study indicate that it was possible to distinguish geographical region within a large batch of Australian and overseas samples on the basis of the trace element association patterns. The results also confirm that there was no significant difference in the trace element composition of the dorsal and ventral muscles of the barramundi. In addition, when the samples from around Australia were analyzed separately, it was possible to achieve approximately 100% correct classification to their site of origin in all cases.
    This research demonstrates the potential of using elemental composition, in combination with statistical classification methods, for accurate provenance establishment of barramundi samples from Australia and overseas.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Western Australia
    Award date11 Jul 2016
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


    Dive into the research topics of 'Preliminary study to determine the provenance of barramundi (Lates calcarifer) based on its trace element composition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this